After 18 months, the Government reinvents National’s wheel

Dr Parmjeet Parmar

I have always believed that women deserve much better opportunities to succeed.

Fortunate to have been brought up in a family who believed in equality, I was able to choose my study journey and vocation of fulfilment and success to get to where I am today.  B

ut success and fulfilment do not have an end point in life’s journey.

Importantly, as a young woman, I was given the tools to keep developing.

I belong to a political party which has been at the absolute forefront of advancing equal opportunities.

Competent women among us

What I saw as a woman in business or in the field of Science or study showed me that New Zealand is full of women with potential.

My experience as an MP and Member of a strong Opposition with so many very capable women colleagues have further confirmed to me that New Zealand has thousands of women who are poised for success.

National’s commitment 

During our time in Government we did a lot of work on the two terms which are fundamental to creating and sustaining a level playing field in terms of gender opportunity.

Our work on equal pay and pay equity was to break down that negative, discriminating and limiting term we are all familiar with: ‘Women’s Work.’

National really valued the principles behind the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill as important and fundamental to a successful workplace within a vibrant economy.

Equal Pay Principle

Michael Woodhouse, Workplace Relations Minister at the time, had importantly costed out the whole scope of the change.

The recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Equal Pay Principles formed the basis of the proposed legislation.

This was an important basis for the key discussions – it was non-partisan.

National believed then and we still believe that equal opportunities is too important  a topic to be a political issue – it warrants all ideas and input across all political parties and that was the basis on which we moved forward.

Disappointing Bill

So it was with great disappointment that we saw the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill thrown out after its first reading.

But wait, there’s more!

The current Government chose Suffrage Day in September to re-introduce Pay Equity Legislation, this time known as the Equal Pay Amendments Bill.

This was said to introduce a simple process to address systemic sex-based discrimination across female dominated industries.

The recommendations of the Pay Equity Joint Working Groups were ‘re-confirmed’ and the group just reconvened under a new Government.

The re-convened Joint Working Group was asked to determine the merit of a pay equity claim from both the employee and employer perspective, to establish appropriate comparators in assessing work culminating with some legislative vehicle based on the principles and recommendations of the group.

Untapped potential

So where have we got to a whole eighteen months on from National’s Employment Bill being introduced to Parliament?

In my daily work as an MP and Select Committee Chair, I come into contact with so much untapped potential.

To realise that potential, we need to look outside the political sphere and move ahead with well-thought out legislations rather than seeing such work as a points scoring exercise.

Dr Parmjeet Parmar is Member of Parliament on National List. She is the Party’s Spokesperson for Research, Science and Innovation.

Photo Caption:

  1. Dr Parmjeet Parmar at the Guru Nanak Dev Ji Birth Anniversary on November 23, 2018
  2. National Party Leader Simon Bridges appears like a Nepali at the Nepali Festive Day with Dr Parmjeet Parma on November 21, 2018
  3. Dr Parmjeet Parmar with Ashok Darji and Pravin and Kash Kumar at Diwali in Parliament on November 28, 2018

(Pictures from Dr Parmjeet Parmar MP Facebook)

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